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Joseph Brown (Joe) - firstname.lastname@example.org I was fortunate enough to catch The Church last year at the 9:30 Club, in support of HofB album (my first show). Both shows were phenomenal... I especially enjoyed some of the more obscure tracks that were performed this time around (i.e. Dome, Grind and Kings).
Below are the songs in order, according to the setlist I got from the stage:
1. Hiroshima Mon Amour 2. Ripple 3. Dome 4. Kings 5. After Everything (New Song) 6. Myrrh 7. Anaesthesia 8. Tranquility 9. Buffalo 10. Grind 11. The Endless Sea 12. Louisana 13. Two Places at Once 14. Destination 15. Tantalized ___________________________ 16. Day of the Dead 17. Cortez the Killer ___________________________ 18. Silver Machine
The setlist had "Reptile" on it, however, it wasn't performed. Other reviews I've read so far, say 15 - 16 songs were played - perhaps one or two of these were obmitted, but I think this is right... Don't know if anyone caught it or not, but there was a review of Box Of Birds and the new Best of CD in the Weekend section of Friday's Washington Post. The reviews were somewhat favorable and I really agree with one point the writer made - not many bands could pull off an album of cover songs as successfully as the Church did with their latest album and in my opinion, their live performances exemplify this. I actually found the live versions of the cover songs even more impressive.
The show began with the band entering the stage to the a new dance version of "UTMW", with a backdrop of old videos and some recent live performances that were taped from this tour (really hope the shows that were taped see the light of day and are released - a performance of this caliber should be documented). Setting the pace for the evening with "Hiroshima Mon Amour" followed by a blazing version of "Ripple". What amazes me most when seeing these guys live is the fact that they still maintain their textural, atmospheric sound in their live performances. If anything, the live performances really enhance some of the songs, especially the extended solos on "Grind" and "Myrrh," "Tantalized". Some of my favorites include "Anasthesia," "Dome" and "Destination"... Luckily, I got a spot up front in front of Marty (several Seancers in the same spot... nice meeting you all). Marty's intensity and charisma really made the show a memorable experience. In addition, seeing the interaction between the band on stage is great too (everyone seemed to be in good spirits). Really didn't understand what the skirmish in the middle was all about, but glad Peter and Steve helped put an end to it.... especially Steve's "Sayonara" as the jerk was escorted out. Marty and Steve's duet on "Two Places" was a classic. Marty and Peter's use of the e-bows in unison during "Endless Sea" was like a sonic symphony... and the fusion of "Day of the Dead" into "Cortez the Killer" with Marty experimenting with the amps and feedback was amazing. "Silver Machine" was such a great way to exit for the band, leaving us all wanting more songs/encores. Picked up Steve's book (a great read, the imagery of his prose is captivating) and the Reformation cd (a must have too).
Following the show, I got the opportunity of a lifetime!!!! I met Marty at the side of the stage - to get an autograph and chat a bit with him and several other fans about his upcoming album. I've been a fan for almost 15 years, esp. Marty's solo work so this was undoubtedly a experience I'll never forget. He was just as personable and friendly off stage as on, one of the nicest people I've ever met. Later, I spoke with Marty again outside and I also got to meet Tim too - who was also very friendly and spoke with me awhile about Box of Birds and their new material. I commended him on their version of "Cortez the Killer" - being a Neil Young fan too, I told Tim that their version of the song reminded me of the live version on Neil Young's album Weld. We then spoke about the Neil Young Arc CD, that was released with Weld and how Arc was such an interesting sonic experience (lots of neat feedback). Tim said he had never gotten a chance to see Neil Young live. We also spoke about their upcoming show in North Carolina at the Cat's Cradle (no North Carolina shows during last year's tour). Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to meet Peter and Steve - maybe on the 6th in North Carolina.
It was an incredible show, that I'll never forget... Most of all thanks to both Marty and Tim for taking the time to talk and sign some things. Not many bands out there, that put on such a great show and truly appreciate their fans as much as the Church. See you all in North Carolina...
The audience didn't seem to get into Hiroshima Mon Amour, but when the boys played Ripple the crowd came to life a little bit. After the songs from P=A, they played the new song, which didn't exactly ring "hit single" in my ears. It is very pretty, but I don't think it is any more or less good than the other singles they have that should have been hits. Next was Myrhh.
People in the audience really came to life when they played this one, but about the middle of the song, some drunken redneck asshole(complete with a bottle of Budweiser) made his way up to the front and started to rough people around. I was two rows behind Steve, and it didn't seem like he really noticed this guy, but when the song ended, Peter, the quietest one in the band, came over and yelled something, including the words "people trying to enjoy themselves", while pointing the neck of his guitar at him. I could tell he was really put off by this asshole's behavior. But wait, Steve then started right after Peter, stepping up to the mike, pointing at the guy, and said "Hey fucker, you take your physical jerks outside", which prompted the security guards to come up and see what was going on. The best part was when during the next song, Anaesthesia, the jerk didn't stop his antics, and security took him away. Between his lines in the song, Steve yelled "Sayonara", and melodically at that, as our friend was removed. Tranquility and Buffalo went off without a hitch.
Highlights for me were Dome, Endless Sea, Two Places at Once, and Tantalized, not to mention the devotion to the fans and professionalism Peter and Steve showed when the asshole tried to ruin the show for us. Steve sounded great, and I felt like the band were tight on every song. They were all into it, although Tim seemed a little tired at some points. The sound quality at the 9:30 club was very good, but sometimes the loudness of the guitars obscured Steve's voice, which I guess can't be helped.
Great show-the most underrated band in the world.
One very satisfied customer,
The show was quite amazing - and the crowd was very enthusiastic. In fact, the people in attendance were as receptive to the new stuff as the classics. MWP wowed us all with his amazing guitar licks - and his enthusiasm. (Steve could borrow a bit of that; he often looks rather glum out there). Highlights were, of course, Ripple and Cortez the Killer.
Towards the beginning of the concert, Peter scolded a few of the audience members up front, after which Steve said, "Hey, why don't you go fuck around outside? Go take your physical jokes outside!" I was rather shocked by this, but fortunately it didn't interrupt the mood of the concert.
The band was in fine form - and they really came out with some enthusiasm, particularly MWP, whom many in the audience shouted to by name. There were some real guitar afficionados out there.
The one bad point was that Peter, who obviously was having trouble with his sounds settings all night, threw his guitar across the stage in disgust after the first encore song and stromed off. Steve was not pleased and went after him. But MWP took up Peter's guitar, strapped it across his back, and smiling broadly, began playing both guitars all by his lonesome, with no accompaniment!! The crowd loved it, and MWP, through his playful nature, was able to rescue what might have been a tense moment. Peter returned for two more songs, but finally slammed his guitar on the stage floor, smirked at the audience, and tossed his pick into the air - all before the song was done. That was the end of the show, and although I sympathized with Peter's sound problems, I still think he should not have abandoned his band mates. That was really unprofessional.
But that's a minor note to an otherwise GREAT concert. The crowd was really appreciative, so much so that I even caught Steve smiling on at least 3 occasions.
What a surprising bit of good luck it was to learn, then, that they were touring again this year; one doesn’t always have the opportunity to make up for one’s mistakes. And so last night I once again walked down to the club, excited to hear a band that has had such a huge impact on me as I’ve grown up.
Although the evening got off to an inauspicious start (the opening band announced they were sponsored by a sandwich shop, which had given them the bright orange shirts they wore, and then proceeded to play some very mediocre material) when the Church finally came on stage (about 11:30) things really picked up. The audience was smaller than last year, but the show was still quite well attended. Though you might not expect it from the usually stodgy people of DC, we have always welcomed the Church very enthusiastically. Maybe it’s my imagination, but the band seems to recognize this, returning our compliments with wonderful, solid performances and lots of smiles and laughs (“Thank you” says Steve after one song, to which a guy in the audience quietly replies, “thank you.” Steve somehow hears this and responds again, “No, thank you.” This goes on, humorously, for some time.)
This year was no exception; on my count, they played 16 songs over the course of about two hours, trading smiles amongst themselves and interacting with the crowd a little more than they usually are inclined to. The set list, as I can remember it (some songs are probably out of order), was: Hiroshima mon amour, Ripple, Dome, Kings, Myrrh (everyone, in the band and audience, loved this one), Anesthesia, Tranquillity, Buffalo, the new song (quite good), Endless Sea, Two Places at Once (probably my favorite of the night), Destination, Tantalized (so much better live), Day of the Dead, Cortez the Killer (Neil himself couldn’t have played it better), Silver Machine.
The most interesting moment of the show was when Pete (!), at the end of a song, walked toward center stage and, along with Steve, told some guy in the front row to stop being an ass. I’m still not quite sure what this fellow had done, but two bouncers soon appeared to pull him out of the crowd and, I think, out of the club for the rest of the night. Fortunately, this didn’t seem to dampen the band’s spirits. It was nice to bump into Mark and Eric too, acquaintances from last year’s show who were willing to forget about my unfortunate drunken shenanigans from that night. Needless to say, I hope the Church will be bank in DC in the not too distant future; their concerts are always memorable experiences. Thanks to Eric for the lift home.
The opening band, Magnet, didn't do much to improve my mood. Granted i was feelin pretty pissy at the time, but that doesn't change the fact that they really weren't very good. The music was kind of folky-pop type stuff. It started out sounding innocuous, but steadily got more annoying towards the end of their set. I do have to give them props for one song they did, called "You Suck," which just about perfectly captured my sentiments toward my no-show date.
Once they got offstage, I found myself a good spot on the balcony to see the Church. Last year I snagged a spot right in front of Marty, and it was a great place to be, but the sound there was horrible. All i could hear was Marty's amps, pointed right at me. I could barely here Steve's singing and I couldnt' hear Peter at all. So this time around I decided I'd find a spot where I could see the whole band and hear them equally as well, and the balcony was perfect for it. As we waited for them to come on, I finally started forgetting about my blown date and anticipating seeing the show. By the time the Church finally came on, I was excited and she was forgotten.
The techno version of UTMW played as the band came onstage, and I actually kind of enjoyed it. They were projecting a variety of images of the band on the curtain behind the stage, but being that the curtain was black, it was hard to make out most of them. I came into the show knowing the set list and was pretty excited about the song selection. Hiroshima Mon Amour is my favorite off the new album, and it came off well live, tho i agree it sounds more like a mid-set number than an opening song. Ripple was a bit off, Steve didn't seem too enthused about singing it. The energy was a bit low for the first few numbers, but it definitely picked up. Steve seemed particularly animated tonite. During the intro to Ripple, he was pointing up at the images on the curtain, pointing something out to Marty, and they were both laughing about it.
Somebody yelled out "You Rock", to which Steve replied "I Rock. That's my intention... to rock." At some point, Peter was pointing his guitar at a guy in the audience and yelling at him, and Steve took over and told the guy "You want to make trouble??? well fuck off outside then." When the bouncers came and took the guy out during the opening verse of Anaesthesia, Steve added a little "Sayonara" aimed at him, to the end of the verse. Steve also joked around alot about the Barenaked Ladies.. at one point he said "Barenaked Ladies" and after everyone in the audience finished groaning, he added, "I love em." Later on, right before playing Endless Sea, he said "This is a song by the Barenaked..... uh Iggy Pop." As the third time I've seen the band, this was definitely the most talkative i've ever seen Steve be.
Marty was his usual self, not as much crowd interaction as last year, and a lot more smoking onstage. He seemed to come alive more in his solo's though. And he had a big cheering section right down in front. I couldn't see Peter much last year, from the opposite side of the stage, so I paid more attention to him this year. Though not as animated as Steve or Marty, he still moved around a bit and seemed to be enjoying himself as well. Tim pretty much just played the drums.
Overall the show had a lot more energy then last years, which was a bit lacking. Things dragged in a couple places, but by the second half of the set, they were cooking and everything was amazing. I'd say its not QUITE up there with the first time i saw them in '91, but it was pretty damn close. If they'd thrown in Hotel Womb and Reptile, it probably would've even topped that show. The highlights are almost too numerous to mention but I'll give it a shot and just mention the moments that stood out most to me:
1) a really rocked up version of Myrrh. Marty's solo's were incredible and really got the crowd pumped up, up to that point they were kinda ho-hum. Halfway thru his 2nd solo, Marty breaks a string, rips it off the guitar and just keeps goin without missin a beat.
2) Kings. A great song on record, I wasn't sure how it would turn out live. Tim did a great job on this, helped out a bit with a backing percussion track.
3) Buffalo sounded great, my favorite song of HOB, last year it didnt come off as well, but this year it really came together.
4) The strobe lights during Tantalized were cool. 5) Day of the Dead/Cortez the Killer... these 2 songs back to back really show that the Church is just an incredible jam band, as anyone who has the Bastard Universe CD already knows. Marty and Peter both get plenty of chances to wail thru these two numbers. At the end of Cortez, Peter flings his guitar all the way across the stage to Marty's side and walks off. Marty then picks up Peter's guitar and puts it on, and plays both guitars at the same time. By the end, he has Pete's guitar hanging off his back, wailing feedback while he's strumming his own guitar, before finally handing them off to the roadies. Definitely a very cool moment.
6) Steve introduced the new song as "our token new song." it was pretty good, but didn't really stand out. a slowish-paced number, it was really interesting to see Marty playing bass.
They finished with Silver Machine, Marty never got around to ripping the strings off his guitar like he did at other shows, maybe he got that out of the way on Myrrh. The show as a whole was just incredible. Once they got warmed up, Myrrh was the song that really kicked the show up to a new level... that and the squabble with the guy in the audience really seemed to get the bands blood pumping, and it showed through the rest of the show, right up to the Day of the Dead/Cortez combination at the end which was perfect. I can't wait for the next album and the next tour to support it.
And as for my no-show date... don't feel sorry for me, feel sorry for her, she's the one who missed an amazing show.
I think they played fifteen songs all told and none of them disappointed.(Well, that's not true. Myrhh, without the benefit of the layered percussion and keyboards from the original, sounded a bit muddled. Nonetheless, the song "rocked," to use Steve's own words.)
One of the best things about seeing a band with such a big catalog of songs, such as the Church, is the fact that some great album cuts can be played for the faithful. I was pleasantly surprised that "Kings" and "Grind" and "Destination" made it into the set. My friends were disappointed that "Milky Way" wasn't performed, but that did not diminish the show one bit.
My three favorite songs of the night: "Grind," "Tantallized," and "Two Places at Once." Marty and Peter gave "Tantallized" a solid minute prelude that could not be topped. "Two Places" was elegant and beautiful.
The new song they performed was also very good, but I don't think Steve mentioned the title. Hope the new song makes it onto the next album, if and when it comes out.
The Church were great last night. Check 'em out before they leave the States.
Magnet opened the show with 3 out of 4 band members. The bass player was in Australia for a wedding. They played about 1/2 hour of lo-fi pop. A few punk songs were added to the mix. The song they co-wrote with another band: ( Shave My P*&$y Like A Porn Star ) probably got the most comments by everyone.
On to the show. It was quite amazing to be next to the stage. Some of the crowd were draped on the floor monitors or even patting the stage rhythmically like a set of bongos. I mean you couldn't get any closer unless you were in Steve's lap. The new disco smash hit 'Under The Milky Way' started belting out of the PA and most of the crowd most were singing the lyrics. I knew this was going to be an outstanding show.
The guys all were dark shirts and black pants. Marty had the most grins going, while Steve would let one slide out occasionally. Peter had his dead-serious look and & Tim was self-absorbed into the drums & music. Hiroshima started the show with Peter playing the guitar synthesizer at first. The song selection would be a little more laid-back for this tour but that was fine with me. A few songs later during Columbus was when the real entertainment would begin. Some guy stormed towards the front with a Budweiser in hand. He was to my right side & started yelling & elbowing me in my side. I then told him to chill out, "This isn't a Lynard Skynard show". He had this frown on his face like he wanted to kill somebody. No fucking joke. He put his arm around my shoulders and said 'Woo hoo- play that Reptilian song'. I told him to chill out once again & he let go. The guys had just finished playing Columbus when Peter & Steve rushed to the front where we were standing. Peter basically said 'Fuck off' and Steve said 'You're gonna get kicked out'. The idiot didn't seem to even take offense at this. Seconds later, security was ushering him away. It happened so fast that it was a few songs later when I found out that the idiot had thrown his beer bottle on stage.
The show progressed and Steve mentioned that they were going to play an Iggy Pop song, 'The Endless Sea'. Both Marty & Peter played their E-Bows in harmony. That was too cool. Marty actually was kneeling next to the crowd pointing the light from the E-Bow at someone. The closest people roared in laughter. A few songs later I felt someone pushing me in my side again during Grind. It was the drunken idiot. He was back to harass us some more. One of the security guys was right behind him & asked me if I knew the idiot. I said I didn't so they whisked the idiot away again for the last time. Tantalized had Marty whipping the crowd to a frenzy.
After they ended their set, the crowd cheered & yelled until the guys came back on stage. Day of the Dead had a hypnotic effect on everyone. Cortez allowed the guitar solos to really shine. They hurried off the stage once again, but not for long. Marty was in a most excellent mood & started playing the chords to Silver Machine. The crowded clapped in unison. The rest of the guys came back on stage to do the song. Peter had already slung his guitar across the stage once. On this song he pulled apart his fuzz effects unit and slammed it onto the stage. Marty curiously walked over to Peter's guitar picked it up & started playing both at the same time. Well, it didn't sound pretty but it sure was funny. Steve started laughing & then walked off stage. Marty flung Peter's guitar around so that it was on his back. Feedback grew until he put down both guitars & left as well. The sound guy had to turn all the amps & effects before the noise ended. Whew. That is enough for now. Will continue with the rest later. This is my story & I'm sticking with it. Over & out.
There was one nasty incident after about the first hour: some fellow up front must have been doing something rude, because Peter walked over to center stage and started shaking the neck of his guitar at someone and scolding them. Then Steve said something like "I wish this fellow would just fuck off outside. Just take your physical humor out of here." A bit later the security folks hauled this rather sullen-looking Lilliputian fellow past me. Don't know what he did, but it must have been rude. Steve visibly smiled when the security guys showed up.
Well, what can I say. Their set list was pretty much what it has been this tour. I felt just fine about seeing the same songs played two weeks in a row. Their execution was amazing, Peter really adds something to the songs when he sings backup parts, though he did have a little trouble at one point when he bumped into his mike. Marty was ever the flawless showman and his technical proficiency shone through. Steve used his voice to it's fullest and put on a great show. And Tim Powles really tied it all together. I'm constantly amazed at how much his drumming adds to the group.
Oh, the opening band was, I think, Magnet. A local D.C. band, and they really did an excellent job. Much better than the banal Dal that played in Portland.
At this moment though, it didn't matter much. I had come to DC to see a concert, and I was scared to death. The last concert I attended, in 1992, was Sonic Youth. During that show, I spent a fine evening smashed against the gut of a fat bouncer, who's primary job was to serve as a human wall matt. The congenial man in a black t-shirt seemed to enjoy this more than I did. Although I can't complain since I owe him my ribs, I wish there had been a place of rest for the less Dionesian amongst us... The opening act at that show was a Japanese avant gaurd-noise band, whose lead guitarist and vocalist couldn't get a passport to leave Japan... and so on and so forth.
The rest of the afternoon in DC was spent talking with the homeless and waiting in line for the show. At one point, two of the band members (I think) got in a taxi and drove away. They were looking at the line, which was pretty short at this point. Interestingly, no-one in the line seemed to notice them, so perhaps they were just roadies, or I was hallucinating after wandering around DC all afternoon.
There was an opening act. Its name was Magnet. They threw a frisbee. One of there band members was in Australia. I enjoyed their more electric sound more than their acousto-pock.
At 11:30, finally, things got going. The crowd was different than I had expected. There were die-hard fans from many a year there (who swayed heavist for Myrhh and Tantalize- I had never heard either of these songs before, since the first Chruch album I bought was Priest=Aura.) There were also plenty of folks my own age (early 20's) in the crowd.. and the crowd loved the band. Each band member had their worship section, except for neophyte spaceman Powles, who is still earning his reputation; and who in my opinion is the best drummer yet precisely because of what others say is lacking. I'm a Church-monotheist. Despite all of these sects, I see there is only one God in the Church, indivisible. Maybe that's cause I don't go back to their 'goo-goo' girl-fan days when they were 'all the young dudes' ;)
Marty had his power-guitar worship section at his feet. Peter had his lovelorn fans up in the balconies (where I think Peter would have been more comfortable, at times.) Steve's emissaries shouted support from the upstairs bar. But for all of that, there were a pleasant number of newbies in the crowd who were there to just here to see the Church, that incredible, mysterious band they heard one day and later found out "they did that Milky-way thing back in the 80's". It made me feel less like an outsider.
The crowd was too enthusiatic. Too enthusiastic for the band to hear my requests, that is. If they had just quieted down a bit, I'm sure they would have played 'Stop' off of Refo:mation, or 'Further adventures of the Time Being'. I wanted to watch Koppes's face when Marty would sing 'And they sailed into a vat...'. I wanted to see Tim's facial expressions while doing some Utungan percussian. Oh well, maybe next time.. (Really, I love the song Stop, I put it on the end off any tape mix I make. Then I wait 30 seconds and put 'One way world' by peter gabriel after it.)
The set list was fantastic. It was everything I could have hoped for (being a 90's Church fan.) Steven 'It is my intention to Rock' Kilbey did a great job on the vocals. I really enjoyed 'Dome'. Steve's take on the line "God, that's such a shame" showed a change in his demeanor. It was a less caustic take. I think it is what has allowed him to expand his lyrical compositions. 'Dome' is probably my favorite song, though I can't say why.
Peter '..' Koppes' guitar rocks! I love that ambient 'ether-monster' sound he puts into things. Unfortunately, his frequencies weren't being broadcast loud enough. He was mixed too low. But I found a corner of the place where his sound was resonating better, so when I wanted to amplify his sound I just ran over there.
On 'Two places at once' Peter '..' Koppes showed just how the band fits together. I was curious how he would fit in to a song that sort of went from the Kilbey/Piper acoustic duo days. His blues contributions to the song slid right into the composition and tuned in. I'm not kidding. It was great. I keep thinking that now they will need to re-record the song for us!
Marty 'and I can play with one guitar tied to my back' Willson-Piper lived up to the hype I've always read on the net. 'Tantalize' was incredible. I'd never heard it before, as I said, and now I have to go buy some of their older albums. At one point in the show Marty was drinking something, kneeling in front of a speaker, mixing in feedback. At this point, most of the drag-along dates in the crowd went to get another drink. I was enraptured, however, and took advantage to get a better view of the band.
Just a thought for the future.... Maybe they should just keep an extra guitar for Peter backstage so when he walks off he can keep playing there? Or, they could get him a ball and chain...
Oh, an one last thing. I love the Refo:mation CD. I wish they would take a chance to do some of that 'less tight' sound on their next album. I think it rocks, and it adds to the mix of their incredible play-list.
Dear Church, Thanks for restoring my Faith in live rock concerts.
The best part, for me, began with "Kings." Steve said, "Rock..... It is my intention to rock... let's rock," and the swirling intro sucked us into a vortex of the meshed guitars of Peter and Marty. Woah! I wanted to at least shout a "Yeah!" of appreciation, but could barely utter a sound due to sinusitis and laryngitis. I looked. Gazed. Stared.
Well, well, two Seancers were standing next to each other and didn't know it. I was on standing next to Dave on his left, mercifully protected from Mr. Stoned to his right, and only one row from the stage, behind--two short guys!! hooray! My 6'5" bodyguard stood to my rear. Yes, Peter, who looks so introverted, so brooding, sullen at times, burst into action to charge in front of Steve and start yelling at Drunk guy, who by this time had Dave S. in a sort of half Nelson. I hadn't even noticed the brouhaha until Peter shocked me out of my euphoria. Then Steve joined the fray. Dave took all this in excellent humor. Luckily, the 9:30 Club security moved in quickly.
The hands of guitar deities that Michaelangelo would have liked to draw, the hands of Peter and Marty, flying, now hovering like hummingbirds over the strings! Beautiful. I couldn't see Marty's in detail from my vantage point between Peter and Steve, and Marty plays a lot to his left side. Steve's hands and wrists puzzled me: they're a bit plump, especially compared to the rest of him. I wonder if they're bothering him. Hope not. Tim really bashes the heck out of those drums, like the demons from hell are at his heels. He looks like he's suffering for art--and then a huge smile at some antic of Marty's breaks through. As Steve plays he looks very elegiac, remembering past joys; Peter looks like he wishes he were somewhere else, and Marty is the embodiment of the carpe diem ethic, Mr. Go for the Gusto. What energy he has!
Definitely a night to remember. Que les beaux jours sont courts.